Duluth Wrongful Death Attorney
The loss of a loved one in a tragic accident can leave your family in mourning and put a financial strain on your household. However, if you believe someone else’s negligence contributed to their death, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Read on to learn more about wrongful death claims and how a Duluth wrongful death attorney from Rafi Law Firm can help. For a risk-free, no-cost case consultation on your wrongful death claim, connect with Rafi Law Firm to schedule a consultation today. You can also call us anytime at (404) 800-9933.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Unfortunately, wrongful death claims are not automatic. They must be pursued by drafting and filing a claim, generally with the other party’s insurance company.
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about wrongful death claims is that they’re actually made up of two different claims: what is known as the “estate claim,” and the “full value of life claim.”
As you can imagine due to these nuances, wrongful death claims can be particularly confusing. Below, we highlight some of the most important things to keep in mind.
1. Who Can File
Under the Georgia Code, the parties who are able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit are:
“The surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, a child or children, either minor or sui juris, may recover for the homicide of the spouse or parent the full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by the evidence.”
The final element of this statement, “as shown by the evidence,” is especially important, and that’s why it’s crucial to hire a Duluth wrongful death attorney from Rafi Law Firm.
People who may file a wrongful death lawsuit are ranked in the following order:
- The deceased person’s spouse. If no spouse:
- The deceased person’s children. If no spouse or children:
- The deceased person’s parents. If no spouse, children, or parents:
- The deceased person’s siblings.
Remember, an estate claim is different from the wrongful death claim. In an estate claim, only the executor of the deceased person’s estate can file.
2. Statute of Limitations
In general, your wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of your loved one’s death. However, there are some unique circumstances in which the statute of limitations could be longer or shorter. For example, if the death was originally put down as natural causes but is later revealed as the result of a crime, the statute of limitations will be extended in order to hold an investigation.
Speak with a Duluth wrongful death lawyer to discuss the unique circumstances of your claim to learn what options you might have.
3. Settlement or Verdict
When you have a wrongful death claim, you will receive compensation generally through one of two ways. The first of these ways is through a settlement. A settlement happens after you draft a claim with sufficient evidence and submit it to the insurance company, where it is accepted and the insurance company offers you an amount.
When the insurance company denies your claim or refuses to provide a fair amount, then you may need to file a lawsuit and recover damages through a verdict against the defending insurance company.
Here’s what Georgia law says regarding how the money will be split up:
- A surviving spouse with no children will take the whole settlement
- A surviving spouse with children will take ⅓ of the settlement, and the children split the rest
- Where there is no surviving spouse or children, the surviving parents will split the settlement equally.
While it might sound complicated, you won’t have to worry if you have an experienced wrongful death lawyer. They’ll handle the details from beginning to end.
What Qualifies as Wrongful Death in Georgia?
Under the Wrongful Death Act of Georgia, a wrongful death has occurred when a person is killed due to the wrongful act of another person or company. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to put your family in as close a financial position as possible as though the wrongful death had not occurred.
This includes compensation for any medical costs or property damage associated with the accident and the loss of the contribution of your loved one to your household, both financial and emotional.
What Are Some Potential Damages in a Duluth Wrongful Death Case?
As mentioned above, there are technically two types of wrongful death suits in Georgia: an estate claim, and a full value of life claim. Both have different kinds of damages.
Damages in an estate claim include the expenses incurred by the deceased between the time of their injury and their date of passing. These include things like medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and pain and suffering experienced by the person who passed away immediately before their death.
The “value of life” claim is a little different, and it’s split into two types of damages: economic and non-economic damages. Because this type of claim is a little more complicated, we’ve gone into more detail about economic and non-economic damages below.
Economic damages are those that are easily calculable. They include the income that the deceased person would have earned had they not passed away, as well as the value of any household jobs that they took care of (cleaning the house, etc.)
The value of their lost earnings is calculated from the time of the accident through the working life of the decedent. It requires a consideration of inflation and the time value of money, among other equations. The value of household jobs is calculated using standards that are accepted by the court.
Non-economic damages can be a little more confusing, as they aren’t nearly as easily calculable as economic damages.
Damages in this category include loss of companionship or loss of consortium (the special relationship that someone has with their spouse). This includes time spent with friends engaging in hobbies, time spent with friends enjoying family events and outings, and the many important milestones in life both experienced and missed out on.
Your Duluth Wrongful Death Attorney Handles Every Step, from Claim to Compensation
Working with an attorney on your wrongful death claim removes the stress and logistics associated with collecting evidence and drafting a claim during your period of mourning. It also helps ensure that you recover the full amount you are entitled to.
If we take your case, we will do so on contingency. This means that we are only paid if we win your case, out of a portion of the earnings that we’ll agree upon before getting started. This means that the more you earn, the more we earn. It is in our mutual best interests to pursue the fullest compensation available by law.
Without an attorney, the insurance company will try to deny whichever claims they can and pay as little as possible on those the evidence makes it impossible for them to deny. Your experienced Duluth wrongful death attorney knows how similar accidents were settled or ruled on in court and has negotiated with the largest insurance companies in the area that are likely to be involved in your case.
With an attorney on your wrongful death claim, you are more likely to be taken seriously by the insurance companies, and more likely to recover the full amount you are entitled to.
Rafi Law Firm is Here to Help You and Your Family. Call Us Today.
Your Duluth personal injury attorney from Rafi Law Firm is standing by to provide a risk-free, no-cost consultation on your wrongful death claim. We’re client-focused and are here to provide you counsel in your time of loss.
We’ll work tirelessly to recover the full amount you and your family are entitled to for the untimely loss of your loved one. For more information and to schedule your risk-free, no-cost consultation, call (404) 800-9933 now.